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Habitat Use and Activity Patterns of a Terrestrial Turtle (Rhinoclemmys rubida perixantha) in a Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest

Butterfield, Taggert G., Scoville, Alison, García, Andrés, Beck, Daniel D.
Herpetologica 2018 v.74 no.3 pp. 226-235
Glyptemys insculpta, dry season, females, herbaceous plants, home range, landscapes, linear models, males, plant litter, radio telemetry, shrubs, surveys, turtles, vegetation, wet season, Mexico
We report the results of a field study on Mexican Spotted Wood Turtles (Rhinoclemmys rubida perixantha) in a seasonally dry tropical forest of coastal Jalisco, Mexico. We used field surveys, trail spools, and radio telemetry to investigate activity patterns, estimate home range size with three different techniques, and develop a generalized linear model to identify features associated with habitats used by R. r. perixantha. We found that turtles were most frequently active at midday, with peak activity occurring from 0900 to 1500 h. During the dry season (January–mid-June), R. r. perixantha showed reduced activity (fewer movements and shorter travel distances) compared to the wet season (late June–September). Home range size did not differ among the three methods we compared, and all estimates revealed that R. r. perixantha have small home ranges, with males having larger home ranges than females. Sites used by turtles were positively associated with leaf litter and woody debris, herbaceous plants, vegetation, vine-like shrubs, and sloped terrain, and negatively associated with bare ground. Our findings can be used to strengthen future conservation efforts for R. r. perixantha, as well as other terrestrial geoemydids.